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Puerto Rico party creates fund to ease court costs for indicted governor, associates

Puerto Rico party creates fund to ease court costs for indicted governor, associates

Puerto Rico's ruling party is asking supporters to help pay legal expenses incurred by Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila and associates facing charges of illegally raising money to pay off campaign debts.
A bank account was created to accept donations because defense costs in the federal corruption case will likely top US$2 million (euro1.3 million), Anibal Jose Torres, the governor's chief of staff and director of the Popular Democratic Party, said Sunday.
"We are going to offer the aid, and it is up to the discretion of the person if they accept the help or not," Torres told reporters at party headquarters in San Juan.
The federal indictment handed down Thursday accuses Acevedo and a dozen others of illegally raising money to pay off more than US$500,000 (euro317,000) in campaign debts incurred when he was Puerto Rico's nonvoting delegate to Congress from 2000 to 2004.
Acevedo, who has denied any wrongdoing, is charged with 19 counts that carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years. He is the first Puerto Rican governor to face federal charges since the island became a semiautonomous U.S. commonwealth in 1952.
He says the U.S. Department of Justice is targeting him because he criticized an FBI raid that killed a fugitive militant for Puerto Rican independence. He also opposes the death penalty, which can only be imposed on the island for federal crimes.


Updated : 2021-10-28 09:07 GMT+08:00